Politics & Policy

Yes, Common Core Has Lobbyists

Despite their denials, national-standards advocates are a corporate-funded menace.

Attention, class: A Common Core mouthpiece wants to rap my knuckles with his Gates Foundation–funded ruler. In response to my column two weeks ago about the marketing overlords pushing the Fed Ed racket, Chad Colby of Achieve Inc. demanded corrections. Let’s go to school.

“I wanted to take a moment to highlight two points that were incorrect regarding Achieve,” Colby complained. “Contrary to Ms. Malkin’s assertion, Achieve employs no lobbyists and we never have.”

No? Never? Someone didn’t do his homework. Mr. Colby, meet Patricia Sullivan. She’s the founding executive director of Achieve and a career lobbyist who has bounced around D.C. for the past quarter-century in influence-peddling positions for the Gates Foundation–funded National Governors Association, Council for Chief State School Officers and Center on Education Policy. She has “advocated” for trade groups, a teachers’, union and her own “consulting firm.” That’s Washington-speak for “lobbying.”

And let me introduce Mr. Colby to Ronn Robinson, a founding senior vice president of Achieve and veteran Democratic and corporate education lobbyist for former Washington governor Booth Gardner and Boeing. According to the Hill newspaper’s column titled, ahem, “Lobbying World,” not-a-lobbyist Robinson left Achieve several years ago to lobby for the D.C.-based National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE).

NCEE is the multimillion-dollar Gates Foundation–funded advocacy (read: “lobbying”) group founded by Marc Tucker, the godfather of Common Core–style schemes and top-down control masquerading as “reform.” He has dominated the D.C. education-lobbying scene since before Bill Clinton was in office. Like Achieve, Tucker’s NCEE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that crusades for ever-increasing federal involvement in every aspect of education while denying its brazen lobbying activities.

In the early 1990s, NCEE (established with $5 million in New York taxpayer-funded seed grants) paid Hillary Clinton more than $100,000 to direct the group’s “Workforce Skills Program” while she worked at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. After the Clintons moved into the White House, Tucker sent a now-infamous letter to Mrs. Clinton outlining a radical progressive plan “to remold the entire American system” through a centralized national-standards Trojan Horse.

Tucker’s proposal represented “a new approach to government” by elitist bureaucrats to “create a seamless web” that “literally extends from cradle to grave.” The Clinton White House soon after delivered federal Goals 2000 and school-to-work laws. Tucker has explicitly advocated that the United States “largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.” Today, his acolytes hail the creation of a “P20W” system to groom students from “prenatal” (“P”) through graduate school (“20”) and into the workplace (W”).

Tucker’s close ally, Mike Cohen, was one of the cadre of education radicals called on to shape his plan and was name-checked in his letter to Hillary. Cohen served as a top education adviser to Bill Clinton and his education secretary Richard Riley and as a don’t-call-me-a-lobbyist lobbyist for the NGA before becoming president of Achieve Inc. in 2003.

And that brings us back to Mr. Chad Colby and Achieve Inc.’s second complaint. As I reported in my column, the incestuous relationships among these lobbying groups and their Common Core boondoggle partners are deep and wide. I noted that in addition to staffing the Common Core standards writing committee and leading the public-relations campaign, Achieve Inc. “is the ‘project management partner’ of the Common Core-aligned, tax-subsidized PARCC testing conglomerate.”

Colby protested that “Achieve is no longer affiliated with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)” and that its “contract ended with them in December of last year.” Clean break? Ha. Achieve and PARCC are inextricably intertwined.

Don’t take my word for it. Take PARCC’s. Though the contract with Achieve “ended” last year, a PARCC letter to Arizona education officials explains that no one’s really going anywhere:

The Achieve staff members that have conducted the work of PARCC over the last several years are transitioning to PARCC, Inc. so that they can continue to maintain the leadership and programmatic expertise that will see the project through the end of the development period, as well as the sustainment of the assessment moving beyond the grant. Many of them have been involved in work surrounding student assessment and academic standards for 15 or more years.

Moreover, PARCC makes crystal clear that “the Achieve staff members that will make up PARCC, Inc. . . . have been intimately involved in the development of each of PARCC’s procurements, subsequent contracts and contract management.”

Despite spending tens of millions of dollars on advocacy along with millions more in federal and state taxpayer grants and subsidies, the Beltway educrats’ propaganda machine is crumbling. Tens of thousands of parents and students are now boycotting the racket’s PARCC/Achieve field tests. States are withdrawing from standards, technology, and data-collection plans in droves.

Looks like it’s time to ask the Gates Foundation to pour more money down the Common Core/Fed Ed Not Lobbying vortex, Mr. Colby. Class dismissed.

— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. © 2014 Creators.com

Most Popular

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More
U.S.

A Stay-at-Home Mom on Her Reasons for Leaving Portland

While covering events (see here and here) in Portland, Ore., National Review writer Luther Abel sat down with Joanna -- a college-educated, stay-at-home mom and now Trump voter -- who feels it is no longer safe or healthy to live there. They discussed the change that has happened in the city politically, the ... Read More
U.S.

A Stay-at-Home Mom on Her Reasons for Leaving Portland

While covering events (see here and here) in Portland, Ore., National Review writer Luther Abel sat down with Joanna -- a college-educated, stay-at-home mom and now Trump voter -- who feels it is no longer safe or healthy to live there. They discussed the change that has happened in the city politically, the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World’s Worst Idea

Almost a decade ago, I wrote a little book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. When Regnery asked me to write the book, I was happy to do it but wondered whether a book on socialism, a brief conspectus of its grotesque failures, would be necessary or useful. I wondered why anybody would be ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World’s Worst Idea

Almost a decade ago, I wrote a little book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. When Regnery asked me to write the book, I was happy to do it but wondered whether a book on socialism, a brief conspectus of its grotesque failures, would be necessary or useful. I wondered why anybody would be ... Read More
Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More
Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

What Next?

Imagine this: You have a friend who has never saved a penny for his retirement. You ask him about it when he is in his twenties, and he says, “No problem — I’m going to win the lottery.” Years go by. You ask him about it in his thirties, in his forties, in his fifties, etc., and get the same answer. At ... Read More
Politics & Policy

What Next?

Imagine this: You have a friend who has never saved a penny for his retirement. You ask him about it when he is in his twenties, and he says, “No problem — I’m going to win the lottery.” Years go by. You ask him about it in his thirties, in his forties, in his fifties, etc., and get the same answer. At ... Read More